Home / Accueil

John T. Williston House

1696 Water Street, Miramichi, New Brunswick, E1N, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2005/04/28

John T. Williston House, front elevation, 2005.; City of Miramichi
Front elevation
No Image
No Image

Other Name(s)

Williston House
John T. Williston House
Maison Williston
Chatham Customs House & Post Office
Bureau de douane et bureau de poste de Chatham
Dominion Building
Édifice Dominion

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2006/06/13

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

John T. Williston House is located within Miramichi's Historic Water Street District. It is a 2-storey sandstone Georgian building completed in 1824, making is one of the oldest buildings in existence in the area.

Heritage Value

John T. Williston House is designated a Local Historic Place for its association with its first owner John T. Williston, for its architecture and for its use as a civic building.

The home's first occupant, John T. Williston, was a lawyer, popular businessman, civil servant and politician who figured prominently in the 'The Fighting Election of 1843'. He had entered the House of Assembly political ballot in 1842 and won, but was voided due to intimidations during the 'open election process'. A subsequent by-election in 1843 pitting a representative from each side of the river and backed by the local lumber barons, respectively, ended in violence, with one voter being killed by a hurling rock. Williston lost this by-election but won the seat in 1850. He was a Member of the Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick, and held the post of Deputy Treasurer of Customs.

John T. Willison House is also valued for its architecture. Built by mason Andrew Currie in 1824, the building represents a good example of homes built for prominent citizens in the Georgian style. It still exibits the rectangular massing, window style and hipped roof that is indicative of this style.

This home has also served as a civic building. Following the Crown's purchase in 1872 and subsequent renovations, it housed the Customs House and Post Office and Dominion Savings Bank. The building was rescued from decades of neglect in 1982 when a group of concerned citizens in partnership with the three levels of government secured and restored it to its present state. It was designated Protected in 1999 under the Historic Sites Protection Act of New Brunswick.

Source: City of Miramichi, Heritage Office Site File:#05-31.

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements describing the heritage value of John T. Willison House include:
- hipped roof with wooden shingles;
- facade comprised of quality boasted and sparrow pecked even course sandstone with chisel drafted margins;
- belt courses between levels with finely batted quoins;
- side walls and rear wall constructed of uneven course sandstone;
- single storey addition at north end consistent with building materials and window placement;
- three-flue chimney stacks at each end, with southern flue still retaining decorative clay chimney pots;
- windows consistent to style of home with 12/6 panes on upper level, sides and additions and 16/12 panes with wooden box panels below on lower commercial facade;
-recessed door entry.



New Brunswick

Recognition Authority

Local Governments (NB)

Recognition Statute

Municipal Heritage Preservation Act, s.5(1)

Recognition Type

Municipal Heritage Preservation Act

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1872/01/01 to 1872/01/01
1982/01/01 to 1982/01/01
1999/01/01 to 1999/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Trade and Commerce
Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design
Governing Canada
Government and Institutions
Governing Canada
Politics and Political Processes

Function - Category and Type


Commerce / Commercial Services
Eating or Drinking Establishment


Single Dwelling
Customs Building
Commerce / Commercial Services
Office or Office Building
Post Office

Architect / Designer



Andrew Currie

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Heritage Office Beaverbrook House City of Miramichi, Site File # 05-31

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




Related Places



Advanced SearchAdvanced Search
Nearby Places